Sailors display their talent at KPMG Championships
The 6th Annual KPMG Youth Winter Championships was held March 9 and 10 in the waters of Montagu Bay. The event was staged by the Bahamas National Sailing School (BNSS) and the Nassau Yacht Club (NYC).
This regatta is one of four major junior sailing events held each year in The Bahamas, and attracts sailors from New Providence and Grand Bahama as well as a number of Family Islands. The classes represented were the optimist dinghies (ages eight to 14) championship and green (beginner) fleets, the laser (radials and 4.7) sloops and the sunfish. With 62 participants in total, the results showed just how competitive young Bahamian sailors are in the region.
The sailing conditions for the two-day, seven-race regatta were extremely challenging on Saturday with winds up to 22 knots gusting to 25, yet almost all of the sailors raced. Fortunately by Sunday morning, winds subsided to 12 -15 knots out of the east making for near perfect race conditions.
Joshua Weech (NYC/BNSS), age 13, finished first in the Optimist Championship Fleet out of 38 competitors. He defeated Anton Gottberg (Lyford Cay Sailing Club) by less than a foot in the last race. Gottberg dominated on the first day in the heavy breeze by winning all three races, and Weech was second in each of the three. To finish first overall, Weech needed to finish first in all four races on Sunday, with the assumption that Gottberg would take second in each of Sunday’s races. The last race was a nail-biter with both sailors changing places numerous times and in the end, Weech pulled it off. This was truly racing at its best. Gottberg was second overall and Kaemen Floyd (BNSS), who celebrated his 10th birthday on Sunday, was third.
The Green Fleet comprised nine sailors. Not all were able to handle the breeze on the first day but those who managed went home feeling proud about themselves. Issa Bournas (Lyford Cay Sailing Club) took first place. Josiah Moss (Harbour Island) was second and Alexander Johnson (Harbour Island) was third.
Tristan Eldon (NYC/BNSS) won the Laser Class with Max Wassitsch (BNSS) placing second and Joshua Higgins (Harbour Island) finishing third.
Maryetta Johnson (C.C. Sweeting/BNSS) was first in the Sunfish Class, followed by Noah Simmons (Harbour Island) in second and Ellienne Higgs in third.
This regatta served as one of three qualifiers for The Bahamas’ team of 14 sailors for the 2019 Optimist North American Championships which will to be hosted by the NYC and the BNSS September 27 to October 4, at Montagu Bay. This is expected to be the largest sailing event ever held in The Bahamas with 160 to 180 junior sailors from over 20 countries competing.
A special thank you is extended by the organizers to KPMG as the title sponsor and to the Nassau Yacht Club and the Bahamas National Sailing School for hosting the event.